Sen. Toomey, Erie Veterans Affairs to Honor Vets

U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey and Erie County Veterans Affairs will be honoring Vietnam war veterans. Veterans who are eligible are invited to join the offices of Pat Toomey and the Erie County Veterans Affairs on Wednesday, March 30, at 10 a.m. They will be holding the ceremony at the Erie County Courthouse in Courtroom – H at 140 West Sixth St. in Erie. To be eligible for the lapel pin, the recipient must be a living United States veteran who served on active duty in the United States Armed Forces at any time from Nov. 1, 1955, to May 15, 1975, regardless of service location. Robert DeSousa, who serves as Toomey’s state director and is a retired colonel in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, will attend on behalf of the Senator and will serve as the master of ceremony. Eligible veterans are urged to call Erie County Veterans Affairs office at (814) 451-6265, by March 23. Registration for the event will begin at 9:30 a.m. with the ceremony beginning at 10 a.m.

House Hearing on Pending Health Legislation

The House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health held a hearing to discuss pending health care legislation. VA representatives responded to questions on its policies and procedures regarding non-VA emergency care reimbursement, long-term care alternatives, lactation stations, and an increase in the structural alterations amount for disabled veterans. In a statement submitted for the record, VFW National Legislative Deputy Director Tammy Barlet commented on H.R.5754, the Patient Advocate Tracker Act, which stemmed from a proposal by 2021 VFW-SVA Legislative Fellow Cameron Zbikowski.

House Hearing on Pending Economic Opportunity Legislation

The House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity held a hearing to review legislation regarding education, employment, transition, and housing. Proposals included creating permanent policies to protect VA education benefits in cases of national emergency, expanding eligibility of the self-employment track within Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E), and making it easier for veterans facing housing insecurity to receive rental assistance. In a statement submitted for the record, VFW National Legislative Associate Director Emily DeVito commented, “The COVID-19 pandemic’s massive impact on higher education and training, including unforeseen closures and rapid changes to modalities, brought to the forefront the urgent need for permanent legislation that would direct VA in these times of crisis.”

POW/MIA Update

Army Staff Sgt. Grady H. Canup, 30, of Greenwood, S.C., was assigned to Company C, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division. He was reported killed in action on Nov. 14, 1944, when enemy artillery fire hit near his foxhole during the Hürtgen Forest offensive in Germany. Following the battle, his remains could not be recovered. Canup will be buried in Anderson, S. C., on April 10, 2022.

Army Air Forces Staff Sgt. Richard G. Salsbury, 19, of Canaan, Maine, was assigned to 345th Bombardment Squadron, 98th Bombardment Group, 9th Air Force. On Aug. 1, 1943, the B-24 Liberator aircraft on which Salsbury was a gunner crashed as a result of enemy anti-aircraft fire. Salsbury will be buried in his hometown. The date has yet to be determined.

Till next week, praying for all service members.


– Charles Castelluccio